TL;DR – A blast from the past that has unfortunately lost a bit of its sheen.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is an End Credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film.
Space Jam Review –
When Space Jam first came out in cinemas, I was in primary school, and I can remember that it was a film that teachers would put on when they needed a break from us but not that much more. It has been over a decade since I have seen the film, and besides the occasional look at the old website, I hadn’t thought about it much. However, then they went and made a sequel. I felt I had to give it another watch for due diligence to see just what it was that captured people all those years ago.
So to set the scene, in 1973, a young Michal Jordan (Brandon Hammond) is practising at his home well after midnight. When talking to his dad, the one thing he wants to be is a champion and play on a championship team. One montage of Jordan’s career later, and a now champion Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan) is retiring from basketball to join baseball. But on a planet in deep space, a theme park boss is Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), is trying to find a new attraction, and he decides to steal all the Looney Tunes. But instead of being captured, Bugs Bunny (Billy West) cons them into playing a basketball game for their freedom.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but like a lot of work went into the credits, and there are some snippets of stuff here and there.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie info here
The Mitchells vs. The Machines Review –
For the longest time, Sony Animation was this studio that shows immense potential, but they always seemed to be chasing trends, which never led them to make anything that stood out. The Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs showed they had potential, but then Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse came out of nowhere and exploded onto the screen. Now, Sony Animation was setting the trends, and it made me wonder where can they go next. Well, today, we get to see that with the charmingly odd The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
So to set the scene, the Mitchells are your standard quirky/dysfunctional family heading towards their first major crisis. As time has gone on, father Rick (Danny McBride) and daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) have become equally frustrated with each other, and no amount of work from mum Linda (Maya Rudolph) and brother Aaron (Mike Rianda) can fix this divide. However, Katie is about to go across the country to college, and if she leaves while the relationship is still broken, well, that could be irreparable damage. Well then, the family decides to make one last-ditch effort to fix the unfixable by going on a long road trip to drop Katie off at college, on the same week that techbro Mark Browman (Eric Andre) of PAL Labs inadvertently starts a robot invasion after upsetting his AI PAL (Olivia Colman).
Animation is a form of filmmaking that is often related to second-tier status, something just for kids. This is by both the organisations giving out the awards and also by the very guilds that are meant to be promoting their member’s work. However, they are not second-tier films, and in many ways, it is the animated films that are pushing the frontiers of filmmaking and what is possible, and they should be championed for the work that they do.
Animated films can be hand-drawn, stop/clay motion, computer-generated, it does not matter, but all of them show amazing techniques of hundreds of artists that bring the work to life.
So without further ado, these are the animated films that showed us the glory of animation in 2020. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banners to go to the full reviews of each of the films
Well, it has been a long, and let’s call it, interesting year, but today brings to a close our last reviewed of a film from 2020. To round out the year, it is time to look at Pixar’s next entry, and given we already had a strong movie in Onward this year. I came into Soul with some reasonably high expectations.
So to set the scene, Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a high school music teacher, but his real passion is performing jazz. This puts him in conflict with his mother Libba (Phylicia Rashad) who wants him to have a stable job. Well, those two worlds are about to collide when he is offered a full-time position teaching while also getting the chance to perform with the famous Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). This would be a big decision for Joe if he didn’t then fall through an open manhole and wake up on the escalator to the other side.
There has been a couple of attempts in recent times to do the ‘what if the fantasy realm that you know was set in modern times’ and well, on the whole, they have been bad. But as a concept, it is solid, so I have been wondering if anyone would be able to pull it off. Well if anyone can do it, it is Pixar, and boy did they.
So to set the scene, Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is just an average teenage elf, winning math awards, learning how to drive, avoiding his brother Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) and trying to find friends. He is trying to find his place in the world with his brother, who is a bit of a screw-up, and his mother Laurel Lightfoot (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who is trying her best with the chaos. On his 16th birthday, their mother surprises them with a gift from their late father Wilden Lightfoot (Kyle Bornheimer) which turns out to be a magic staff and a spell, one that can bring him back, but only for one day.
There is this common misconception that animated films are somehow an inferior form of cinema, especially those slated for a younger demographic. However, this is simply just not the case, and several animated films over the last few years have proved that point. This week we get to see another movie enter that frame with the follow up to The Croods.
So to set the scene, we begin with a tragedy as Guy’s (Ryan Reynolds) parents get caught in a tar pit and force Guy to move on without him hoping to return to a mystical place known as tomorrow. Fast forward and a lot of time marching he runs into the Crood Family, father Grug (Nicolas Cage), mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), daughter Eep (Emma Stone), son Thunk (Clark Duke), baby Sandy (Kailey Crawford), and grandma Gran (Cloris Leachman). They live a simple life of foraging for food and trying not to get eaten, but romance blossoms between Guy and Eep, much to Grug’s consignation. But everything changes when they find a big wall in the middle of the wilderness hiding mountains of food behind.
TL;DR – This is a strong entry into the Jurassic franchise leaning both into joy and terror of dinosaurs
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Review –
It should go without saying, I love Dinosaurs. I have loved them since I was a kid, and I still love them today. So I take whatever chance to watch, which unfortunately is few and far between. Well, today is one of those few times when I get to sit back and enjoy the world where Brachiosaurus loom over treetops, and you need to be careful at what goes bump in the night. [Insert T-Rex Roar sound here]
So to set the scene, we open with two people running through the jungle trying to reach an extraction before Raptors take one of them out. The other person who we see their point of view tries to escape before being cornered by a T-Rex. That is the point where the VR goggles come of, and we are introduced to Darius (Paul-Mikél Williams). He is trying to beat this apparently unbeatable game to win a ticket to Jurassic World’s new Camp Cretaceous because it was always his and his late dad’s dream to go. Well while tossing and turning in bed, he is woken from a dream and finally it all clicks, and he becomes the first person in the world to beat the game. With this, he books his ticket to Camp Cretaceous where absolutely nothing will go wrong … right …?
When I was growing up in the 90s, there was not enough time in the morning to watch Cheez TV, so you would stick the tape into the VCR and just waited all day to see what was taped when you got home. One of those shows that I still think back fondly on was Digimon Digital Monsters. It was this tale of these young kids getting trapped in a digital world, but they were not alone because they made friends with the local Digimon. It had two solid seasons where we followed their stories, but after that, they did the animated equivalent of Skins and shifted the whole world up and along the way I just got lost. Well, today I get to go back in time and revisit an old past with the conclusion to that story started so long ago. Just before we dive in (because I know this is important to some people), I watched the dubbed movie for this review, not the subbed. Purely because this is the version I grew up on, so this was the version I was going to say goodbye to.
So to set the scene, years have passed since the series and other movies and the DigiDestined have grown up and are going about their lives. However, across the world, an Aurora has been dazzling the night sky from New York to Tokyo. There is nothing to fear … the government says … right up until a portal to the digital world opens and Parrotmon (Yoshihito Sasaki) bursts forth. Luckily Tai (Joshua Seth), Matt (Nicolas Roye), T.K. (Johnny Yong Bosch) and Kari (Tara Sands) along with their Digimon can send it back to the digital world. However, in its wake, DigiDestined around the world have begun falling into a coma, and no one knows who will be next. Now in this review, I do want to spend some time exploring some of the themes, but that will head us into spoiler town real quick. So I will start with some general impressions before delving in more in-depth.
TL;DR – A fun trip down memory lane, while learning a thing or two about the International Space Station.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
The Magic School Bus was one of those shows that I can’t help but think back fondly on. Like I can still remember an episode where they went inside a decaying log for some reason. So when a new episode of the show popped up in my feed, and one set in space no less, I had to check it out, and I got sent back in time and into the future all at once.
So to set the scene, we skip all the standard preamble and start with the Bus as a rocket blasting off into space. Ms Frizzle (Kate McKinnon) is taking the whole group up to the International Space Station. The astronauts are heading back to Earth, so the team is watching over the station until the next crew arrives the following day.
TL;DR – A love letter to the past and a beautiful story in its own right
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
It has been a long time since Star Trek ventured into the realm of animation, indeed, The Animated Series to this day fits awkwardly into the Star Trek universe thanks to the question marks as to its canonicity. But today Star Trek takes some steps back unto this uncharted frontier with a Short Trek full of joy and beauty.
So to set the scene, we open in on a documentary called The Tardigrade in Space as it explores the life of a humble tardigrade Ephraim flying through space looking for a place to lay her eggs. A place that is warm and safe, which is what she found right up until the moment the USS Enterprise appears out of warp and trashes the asteroid she had picked. But then a starship with a nice warm warp reactor would be the perfect place to lay her eggs, unfortunately, a DOT-7 maintenance droid called Dot has different ideas.